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INTRODUCTORY  ESSAY.                                  31
The varieties that may be selected from a plantation of seed-
ling Spruce, Larch, or Tew plants are innumerable; but so led
away are observers by dominant ideas as to the form and
habit that plants should assume, that similar differences in
other species are seldom put down to a similar power of vary-
ing, as a priori they should be, but are taken as evidence of
specific difference. To this proneness to attach undue im-
portance to variation, we owe the separation of Pinus Pin-
draw from Webbiana, P. Khutrow or P. Morinda from P.
Smithiana; nor is this all, for species have been made of the
commonest English plants which grow in the Himalaya, be-
cause they present differences of habit when compared with
English individuals, but wljich plants, if compared v.ith con-
tinental specimens of the same species, are found to be iden-
tical* with them: to such an extent has this been carried, that
of the several hundred European plants found in India, there
is hardly a species that has not had one (and many, more)
new names given to it.
The differences in the properties of plants aytd in the colour
and durability, etc. of woods, demand a short notice, because
the idea is too prevalent that these are very unvarying dia-
gnostic properties of species. That some woods are always
good, and some as constantly worthless, is incontestable; but
this applies chiefly to those of very remarkable hardness or
density or weight, or other very unusually joiarked quality;
^hd feven of these, the Teak, Sissoo, Sal, etc., each vary much
in quality, whilst the wood of other kinds is singularly va<
rial)le, as of the Indian Pines, Oa&s, Laurels, Ebonies, e*c.
With regard to the Pines, this is very much to be attributed
to the soil and climate, and consequent rapidity of growth
are so sportive in the Deodar, that we have seen many specimens of it that are
as unlike what wo call the typical Deodar, as they are unlike the Cedar; and.
others that approach the latter very closely. There are very slight differences
in the shape of the cone-scales of the Deodar, Cedar, and Algerine Cedar, which
have never been indicated, and may bo of value: but we doubt their proving so,
from the fact of the Algenne Cedar, in this respect, approaching the Himalayan,
and thus uniting all three.